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  • NEW PARENTS area. Support children's learning at home.

    Parents Area

  • Raising awareness of preschool curriculum

    Brookfield Special School, Craigavon - Stay & Play

  • Establish a home lending library

    Ballinascreen Early Years, Magherafelt

  • Supporting parents to help learning at home

    Templepatrick Nursery Unit

  • Clustering together to explore ideas and share practice

    Settings Cluster Group @ Dundonald EA

Welcome to Getting Ready to Learn

Supporting pre-school education providers.


The Getting Ready to Learn project seeks to support pre-school education providers with DE-funded places to encourage and develop parental involvement in children's early learning. It is focused on improving outcomes for children in pre-school by engaging and empowering parents to help them create and sustain positive home learning environments. Read more...


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Introduction to Getting Ready to Learn

Getting Ready to Learn. Our Story So Far...

What Parents are saying about Getting Ready to Learn

Heidi Johnston

Parent - Dunclug Nursery

Beverley Jones

Parent - Sunshine Community Playgroup

Gayle Crawford

Parent - Dunclug Nursery

Ciara McCaul

Parent - Dunclug Nursery


Settings can apply for funding to support delivery of between one and four themes, which have been identified as particularly relevant to parents' of pre-school children:


Education Works in pre-school

Focuses on increasing parents understanding of the pre-school curriculum and the importance of play. Through this theme, setting will provide guidance to parents to support their child's learning at home.

Info Sheet


Happy Healthy Kids

Focuses on raising parents' awareness of the importance of physical activity. Through this theme, settings will provide guidance to help parents increase the amount of time children spend on physical exercise and encourage reduced screen time at home.

Info Sheet


Ages and Stages

Focuses on raising parents' awareness of developmental milestones for 3-4 year olds, helping them to recognize their child's achievements and next steps in learning. Through this theme, settings will provide guidance for parents to help them support the development of specific skills at home.

Info Sheet


Big Bedtime Read

Focuses on supporting parents to read regularly to their children at bedtime and on encouraging good bedtime routines. It also aims to increase parents' awareness of reading opportunities throughout a young child's day.

Info Sheet

What People are Saying

  • As a first time parent of a pre-school child it amazes me as to how much he learns through play. I'm learning as well and we love the home learning packs
    Playgroup Parent
  • After speaking with parents they realised the little, simple activities that are carried out, at this young age, at home can have a huge impact in the children’s future.
    Nursery Unit
  • What a valuable programme this has been for my child - the activities carried out have been fun and excellent.
    Special School Parent
  • The programme has been extremely beneficial to our setting. Funding has provided children with a wide range of resources to extend and encourage learning and development. We have also been able to help develop parental knowledge (and enthusiasm) regarding their children’s development.
    Nursery Unit
  • Parents found it easier to approach staff and were asking more informed questions.
    Nursery School
  • It's so good to be able to come in to the classroom and see all the activities they do. It gives me ideas about the things I should be doing at home
    Nursery School Parent
  • Feedback from parents has been very positive…parents have remarked that the children's behaviour has improved from different activities and home learning

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Getting Ready to Learn (GRtL) was introduced as part of the Early Intervention Transformation Programme (EITP) and pre-school settings have been participating in GRtL since the 2016-17 academic year. The EITP was a NI Executive / Atlantic Philanthropies Delivering Social Change Signature Programme funded jointly by several NI Departments and The Atlantic Philanthropies. The EITP was a three year programme and in 2019, taking account of the positive outcomes demonstrated, the Department of Education confirmed funding to continue to sustain and build on the success of the programme.

The programme has continued to demonstrate positive outcomes for pre-school children, their families and the pre-school educational settings. The Department of Education has confirmed it will continue to fund the Getting Ready to Learn Programme in 2020-21.

The Getting Ready to Learn programme focuses on improving outcomes for children in pre-school settings by engaging and empowering parents, to help them create and sustain positive home learning environments. Settings can apply for funding to deliver between 1 and 4 themes: Education Works in pre-school, Happy Healthy Kids, Ages & Stages and/or Big Bedtime Read. Settings then plan a range of activities to engage parents, for example, interactive workshops, stay n play sessions and home lending resources. The purpose of the funding is to help settings establish their programmes and build up essential home lending resources to carry out the programme.

All settings delivering the NI Pre-School Education Curriculum in the 2020/21 academic year to target-age (3-4) children, namely:
  • Nursery schools
  • Nursery units within primary schools
  • Private or voluntary settings with PSEP places
  • Primary schools may also apply if they are delivering the NI Pre-School Education Curriculum to pre-school children in a reception class
  • Special schools

Any existing settings participating in the GRtL programme must complete their ‘Intentions for 2020/21’ by the end of August 2020.

Application forms for new settings will go live from Monday 7th September 2020. The completed applications must be received by 5pm on Wednesday 16th September 2020. Applications forms for 2020/2021 can be found HERE. Please email your completed form to:

Existing settings will be informed of the outcome of their application and the amount they have been awarded by the end of August 2020. You will receive a letter via email – this will be sent to the email address provided on the ’Intentions for 2020/21’ form.

Funding will then be allocated to settings in September 2020 and must be spent in full by the 31 January 2021.

Funding can only be released to settings who have submitted an intentions form for 2020-21 and supplied the Getting Ready to Learn team with their monitoring for 2019-20 (Financial record 2019-20 and Follow-up monitoring for 2019-20).

Read All F.A.Q

October 2020